Home > Uncategorized > The Wall Street Journal is Selling on the iPad, is Anyone Else?

The Wall Street Journal is Selling on the iPad, is Anyone Else?

The iPad version of the Wall Street Journal now has over 200,000 subscribers according to this article at Smart Money. But should we be at all surprised?

Throughout the entire internet revolution, papers like The Journal and The Financial Times have been able to lure subscribers to pay for online content while many of the competitors have been unable to do so. This is due in large part to the audience reading them. The financial papers offer information that can help people to make money. People who need that information are willing to pay for it. It’s a simple formula that has stood the test of time.

The reason these papers work isn’t because they can help people make money. It’s because they’re focused in on a specific target niche, and always have been. The difficulty with other papers, such as The New York Times, adapting to any new distribution model is that their audience is too vast.

There is such a wide array of information in The Times. Unfortunately, very little of it is vital to our daily lives. I’ve gone many days where my print edition of The Times is never opened and gets recycled inside the blue plastic bag it was delivered in. Go ask a stock-broker how long he’d last in his business if he didn’t read The WSJ.

Newspaper makers are making another miscalculation in thinking that the iPad is going to save their industry.The vast majority of people are not going to subscribe to iPad editions of newspapers when the same non-vital information is available from a number of other sources. The iPad is just an extension of the internet, and iPad subscriptions are just an extension of the newspaper industry’s inability to escape its legacy business model.

Any newspaper executive who believes the iPad is the messiah they have been waiting for is delusional. Soon enough, we won’t be using tablets or laptops at all.  Those who survive in the digital age will do so because they recognize the core change to their business model. Those who are waiting for the “next big thing” to help monetize their industry, will still be waiting when they file for bankruptcy.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Lew
    March 29, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Excellent and insightful post. One of the only solutions I can think of would be for news organizations to brand their news as some sort of niche. Then consumers have the perception that they cannot find their news elsewhere.

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